Sean Lynch, Founder, Clean Beer Project
In 2014, Sean Lynch launched the Clean Beer Project, which travels to bars in New York City, scrubs down beer lines, and lets patrons know via Twitter that their favorite bar is now squeaky clean. A tweet from Clean Beer Project is like a public endorsement for a bar’s quality standards. Apparently, this service was much appreciated; in 2015 the Clean Beer Project earned a Local Beer Hero Award from the NYC Brewers Choice Awards. “Most people don’t think about when or if a bar cleans their lines,” Lynch says. “The rise of craft beer is starting to change that. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
What prompted you to launch this company?
When I moved to New York I got a job working sales for a beer distributor. That was my introduction to the craft beer business. After a while, I got a job with a brewery as a sales manager and did that for a couple of years. I started working on building and maintaining draft beer systems in 2012 and got myself together enough to launch the Clean Beer Project in 2014. Really, I wanted to inform as many people as possible about the importance of clean beer lines, and share locations that I know I can vouch for.
Why is it important to keep draft lines clean?
The Brewers Association recommends that draft lines are to be cleaned every two weeks. Most bars have their beer lines cleaned once per month. We do not recommend any less than that. The main reason for having a professional technician clean your lines is to serve the beer the way the brewer intended. Dirty lines impart unpleasant flavor. Other reasons include: clean lines produce far less waste, saving the bar money; clean, good-tasting beer makes it more likely that the customer will order more than one; and mold and mildew can make you sick. Bottom line, it’s just nasty to not clean your lines.
What’s a typical day like?
We get started early. Depending on how many lines each bar has, we can clean three to six bars a day and tackle an emergency gas leak or two. We stay busy.
What drew you to the craft beer industry?
Actually, I didn’t seek out work in the beer industry. It just started out as a job, but I grew to love the people and the product through working with craft beer. [The issue isn’t limited to craft, either.] Bud Light lines need to be cleaned too.
What would people be surprised to learn about your job?
The number of bars that don’t clean their lines. And, the bars that clean their own lines are not necessarily getting them very clean. There are certain tools and techniques that are required to do a proper job. Each component should be dismantled and cleaned thoroughly. One of the most common problems is that the faucets aren’t taken apart, soaked and scrubbed often enough. Yeast floating in the air eats the sugar in the beer left over and builds up into an off-flavor mess very quickly. So we thoroughly clean from keg to glass every time.
Does your cleanliness extend to your personal life?
Really, being a new dad has motivated me to keep the house clean. ■